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Many people in each group (I think all in the case of the Amish) neither pay into the Social Security system nor receive benefits from the Social Security system. What else do they have in common? That this exemption is awarded for religious reasons in both cases.  Here is a little on the Amish:

In 1935, a bill known as “The Social Security Act” passed Congress. Included in this act was “Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance,” provided for those in industry and commerce, and extended to include farm operators in 1955. What was once a benefit had now become a law. The tax was to be reported at the rate of 3% of income up to an established limit.

While the Amish have no objection “paying unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” they do have problems with commercial insurance. In a sense, insurance was seen as not trusting in God. Insurance plans were a worldly operation. Plus, the Amish view of separation of church and state normally meant not accepting money from government programs, especially something viewed as welfare. No one could deny that this program was one of paying money to the government and then receiving a benefit in return.

Perhaps most importantly, the care of the elderly is seen as the responsibility of the family and community, not the government. Whether it be additions built onto the main house where grandparents “retire,” benefit sales to pay large medical bills, or the community effort of a barn-raising, the Amish truly try to “take care of their own.”

So what reason is there for the public employees to not have to contribute into social security? Well, not all public employees are exempt, only those, like the Teachers Unions, who have a dedicated retirement system that is part of their employment contract. Note that in many instances public employees contribute not a single cent to their retirements, and then have outsized pensions (often spiked) contractually (and often upheld in court) guaranteed to be paid to them by taxpayers.

On what grounds should public employees be exempt from social security that the rest of us ought not to be? If I start a business, and enroll everyone into a retirement plan as condition of employment, in exactly the same manner as public sector workers, then I would be as would my employees fully responsible for being part of the social security system.

What can one make of such a distinction? In my view, it should put to rest the idea that social security is some sort of forced savings/retirement program. It is a pure transfer program, plain and simple. The only conceivable reason to not allow me and my employees (or even me as an individual) to have a dedicated retirement plan make me exempt from social security is that some folks are expected to share in the burden of assisting others in retirement. Most of those people need the help because they did not plan well in their non-retirement years, others are truly needy. In either of those cases, there may be a justification for progressively taxing everybody, but there is certainly no justification for exempting public employees, who already have higher salaries, more generous compensation packages, and more secure jobs than their counterparts in the private sector.

At least the Amish have a Rumspringa. Not only do I not get to exempt myself from the social security farce, but I also have to pay for the lavish benefits that those who are already excused from it are going to get.

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